Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Legs Are Not Happy....

I wasn't going to even write today because I felt I had nothing to say, but as I was downstairs awhile ago doing dishes, all sorts of thoughts were swarming and oh yeah...I got lots to say. So grab a cup of coffee and take a seat, this may take awhile.

I'm not going to sugar coat this (though I'm also not going to go into massive details - you're relieved, I'm sure), my legs are not happy with me and have decided to go on strike. They've been on the picket line for a couple weeks now ... Rob asked me today what their demands were: more rest or more running. Though I think I know what my mind wants, I honestly don't know how to answer that. And the legs are trying to recruit other body parts and are working hard at getting my mind to join the striking union.

With 3 days off from running, I thought my legs would be eager to pound out some miles today. My friend, Jim, and I talked about doing a 1/2 marathon today. A snowstorm 3 weeks ago altered plans for a 1/2 then and low-and-behold, I wake up this morning to guess what???? More snow. It wasn't "bad" but there was snow on the ground and beings this 1/2 was on a trail, I'm sure that trail was covered in snow. This may not be that big of a concern but with the marathon 4 weeks away, I didn't want to screw up another ankle. Or worse. Last night coming home from the grocery store, I managed to lock my anti-lock breaks coming down a hill and turning a slight corner. Locked breaks on a snow-covered road caused my car to sliiiiiide down the road and hop up onto a sidewalk via a large curb. That was scary. And now my car's making a funky grinding noise. No "service-now" lights are displaying on the dash so I'm going to just pretend that this little noise I hear it just a hiccup and will go away soon (which we all know it won't). About the last thing I need right now is car issues!! So anyway, that's just an indication of what a mess the streets were with the couple inches of snow we got last night (LOTS more are predicted for tonight and tomorrow. Ugh! Nov. 14 and I am officially sick of winter already. I need a change....) and a half marathon today wasn't really ideal (though I told Jim, we'd probably manage to place in our age groups beings no one was probably going to show up :) ).

Instead, we opted for massive miles at the gym. The uber-cool 24-hour Fitness near my house is one of a couple gyms I belong to (don't ask), and is the only one that is ... well...uber-cool (okay, here's the scoop: I also have a punch card at the rec center because prior clients used it so I'd go there with them and I also am forced to join the uber-small gym that trainer-man works out of. But I don't workout there other than with him cuz it's really tiny, crowded, and it's hours are not convenient. It's really cheap, though). I talked Jim into going with me, since we were suppose to go to the race anyway. I told a little white-lie to the attendant at the check-in desk and said that my friend was here visiting from out of town so I could get him in for free...but more so, so that he didn't get the 30-minute come-join-our-gym spiel. Nothing more annoying! My ADD mind forgot that the front desk guy dude would ask my out-of-town guest where he was from and have him fill out a liability waver. Quick thinking Jim recalled the conversation en route when I mentioned there was no 24-hour in Albuquerque when I was down there a couple weeks ago and said, "Albuquerque" as his place of residence. Yea, we said a few Hail Mary's for that one!!

So Jim runs the indoor track. 12 miles. Maybe I should have attempted doing that but 6 laps = 1 mile and the thought of running 72 laps was causing my brain to cramp just thinking about it. I mean, who in the heck can keep track of that many laps!!???!! I opted for the counting-your-laps-for-you treadmill and scored one that actually has a decline option, which I need. Or so I think. My goal for the 1/2 today wasn't at a PR pace, I just wanted to get in a run, withouth stopping for whatever 500 reasons I seem to stop lately, at a comfortable yet challening, pace.

But my mind's functioning with a big cloud hovering overhead right now; it's teetering between what it knows it wants to do and where it's union buddies are pulling to lure it in. I truly thought today was going to be an awesome run....but maybe I just wanted it to be. Maybe I wanted it so bad that I set myself up for failure. Truth is, I really wasn't feeling it. I can't say the run was a disaster; if I had to rate it, I'd give it a C-. Brendan tells me frequently, "Mom, a C is average." I don't necessarily view a C as average - especially to a child that is perfectly capable of so much more....but if a C *is* average, then my run was below that.

I wanted badly to run about 10-12 at hopeful marathon race pace (8:30). I set the thing on an 8:27 pace and off I went. I lasted about a mile before I stopped; my legs were screaming. Stretched my calf some and back at it running. I struggled with this - doing a couple miles, then go get a drink, a couple more, then hit the bathroom (when I really didn't have to go), couple more , stretch. I was dying. And there was no reason to be. None.

Except there was. A LOT of personal, highly stressful stuff going on in the ole life right now and what would normally be an excellent way to alleviate the stress by a getting in a long, grueling run, is not working that way right now. I'm not sleeping very well and that is affecting my running - just for starters. My mind's twisted and I can't concentrate and I can't get the legs convinced that the mind doesn't want to join legs lazy party.

My longest running friend way back from the good old Alabama living days, Jeff, sent me an email and stated I was massively over trained - a good 50-100% and needed to cut my training 1/2 to 2/3 to recover. He said I needed to decide if I wanted sustainability or not and how it only works if I can be honest with myself and say "oops, I've crossed the line." I'm being honest here: I may be a tad over trained. Not so much in the fact I've racked up mega miles since Portland, but because I haven't had a break since ... oh....January! I'm 46, not 26 or even 36. I know this, I remind Rob of this constantly. And I fully understand I am pushing the envelope with Tucson by continuing to run yet one more marathon this year. I do understand that! But I also feel that reduced mileage is not the answer to the issues of my legs and mind - the personal stress going on is manifesting itself in my sluggish state. And knots in my glute and calf.

I just need to turn it all around - and that is the goal. I know I can do it!!! I love a great challenge; if I can run 26.2 miles, I can certainly turn this little situation around. I'm going to start by running a few, easy miles tomorrow - and feeling good about them!

Jeff whole-heartedly suggested that I stop and smell the roses after Tuscon. Already done, Jeff...(and btw, blog lurkers should really "comment" occasionally - it's really nice to know who's reading your blog . You all know who you are... ahem, Meg M.ahem as well as Jeff and many others ahem :) ). I had just sent an email to Rob a week ago and said: upon my return from Tucson, I will run, and I will go to Yoga, and I will go to cycling class, and I will lift lots of weights, and I will join the DU master's swim team or whatever else looks inviting - when I want to, not when I have to. And I will have no race plans until Boston and then I will think about a 50-miler. A few races in 2010, not 17 like 2009. It's been a year of great results but I'm ready for a break....after one more marathon!

Just one more chance.....'s that for a blog! I'm heading off to bed...and I'm already feeling better! It's all going to be good :).


Davide Ferrara said...

Hey Jill, first comment on your blog :)
Just listen to your friends and take it easy, you'll be back in top form. Enjoyed your post, as usual. Ciao!

Marathonman101108 said...

LOVED your rambling on! LISTEN TO JEFF! Also, learn to tune out your "left brain" logical thinking. Go back and read some of my post marathon training posts for more info. on shutting down left brain! Looks to me like you need to take it easy on those legs before they convince your entire body to rebel against you. I hope you regain your running "mojo" soon.

Jenn said...

Damn legs. I hate when I go through running stretches like that. I don't know the answer either. Very frustrating when the mind wants but the body won't. The smart advice would be to take a break and let both relax for a while. I'm going to doubt that you are going to do that....Running a few easy miles with no time goal and feeling good about them is a start-if you can let yourself do that! I wish you some serious good luck!!!

Unknown said...

It's easy to follow your ramble, I loved it today! I agree with your friend Jeff, cutting it back and smelling the roses sounds good. We just can't push those legs the way we used to even though we still feel like we're 30! I'm working on that very thing right now...come back happy legs!!

Suzy said...

I try to comment when I can. :) Thanks for the welcome back on my blog...had a great morning to start things in motion.

I hope your legs get better. I have no advice on how to get to the other side and be better...but you'll get there. Can you do a few easy miles w/o time being a factor to help remind your mind and body why you run?

Anonymous said...

-Gasp- Way to call out the lurkers! You've guilted me into commenting. My experience when compared to yours puts me in no position to even think that I might be able to offer any sound advice. I do however believe that you have the tenacity to get there but I also believe that you'll take the hardest route there, where ever it is that "there" may be. We're alike in this aspect, no?

Anonymous said...

By Meg M do you mean me? Meg M-T? Well I am siding with Jeff from Alabama! You are working very hard, do you have the right balance in your training?

busyrunningmama said...

I got worn out just reading that!!! Girl, you need a big fat break!! Thanks for the kind words on my blog.... I am now a follower of yours!!!! 17 races in a year, wow, you rock!!!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Sounds like you have a lot on your mental and physical plate. And 17 races in a more marathon...then a rest!! Well deserved! I'll enjoy hearing about a possible ultra in the futher..after some rest.